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Lime cream pie

I never make pie…well, hardly ever until now when we’re at home more. This take-off on key lime pie from a long-time friend, is an easy, fast, and fantastic diversion during a pandemic, or anytime. I have made this several times, trying out various store-bought Graham Cracker crusts. The one from the elves is best. I followed their (the elves) suggestion and brushed the crust with egg white, pre-baking it for five minutes. I sprinkled sparkling sugar for an extra kick and that really worked. I used regular old limes instead of key limes—not the easiest to get in Chicago—but was very happy with the result. The pie made it through three nights of binge-watching.

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Pumpkin custard

We’re always looking for Keto desserts. Well, we’re always looking for desserts, and when you’re on Keto—you get it.

Make this to welcome fall into your kitchen; I normally only buy pumpkin between October and December. How about you?

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Keto Pumpkin Custard

A Keto dessert winner from DietDoctor.com.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: custard, Keto, pumpkin
Servings: 6 Servings
Author: dad

Equipment

  • six ramekins
  • 13×9 aluminum sheet pan. This just needs to be large enough to contain the six ramekins.

Ingredients

  • 15 oz canned pumpkin I get organic pumpkin puree by Libby.
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 2 tspn vanilla
  • 2 tspn pumpkin pie spice or make your own
  • 1 tspn Stevia liquid
  • 1 cup whipped cream

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°
  • Spray six ramekins with cooking spray and set them on the sheet pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix cream, pumpkin, salt, vanilla, spice, and sweetener.
  • Pour pumpkin mixture evenly into ramekins. Clean up any spills and place the pan in the oven.
  • Bake 45 minutes. Check for doneness with toothpick or other favorite method, like a thin knife blade. The mixture should be just barely set. It will firm up after removing from oven.
  • Remove sheet pan from oven. Let custard cool for 10 minutes.
  • Make or use canned whipped cream to top the custards. Serve. You can make these ahead and store in fridge or a day or two, holding off on the whipped cream until ready to serve. If storing, use cellophane wrap to cover custards and avoid them drying out.

Notes

These are great for company meals, easy and acceptable to non-Keto types. We make up a batch and eat over several days when it’s just us. 

The versatile frittata

As you get the hang of home cooking, you get better, or not, at improvisation—making up new recipes or adapting old ones, to your current pantry or today’s whim. I suspect that my grandmother’s claims that she couldn’t pass along her greatest recipes was more about not remembering exactly how to make that Irish stew or knowing that she never made it the same way twice. Lesson learned.

For some, or until you reach home cooking nirvana, executing a precise step-by-step routine is all you care about. And there’s nothing wrong with that! But joy and bliss await when you can cook on the fly—unless you really screw it up. 😉

I really love frittatas because like my chili or soups and stew and casseroles, they are ready, willing, and able to be modified, amplified, adapted, or short-changed as your ingredient supply changes.

Ketoistas: Obviously, frittatas are totally Keto—check out those carbs! And infinitely adaptable to mitigate boredom.

Dads!: So many ways that kids can help with this. Selecting ingredients, stirring, pouring, setting the timer, dicing(?).

Here’s a frittata I made today that’s a keeper—unless I forget how I did it next time.

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The Versatile Fritatta

A keeper of a frittata for any morning—quick and adaptable.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Resting time5 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese, chorizo, cream, eggs, fast and easy, Keto
Servings: 4 slices
Calories: 556kcal
Author: dad

Equipment

  • 10" cast iron skillet

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 4 oz chorizo
  • 2 green onions diced fresh
  • 1 medium jalapeno diced fresh
  • 1 medium tomato chopped fresh
  • 1 tbsp Dad's spice mix or taco seasoning or similar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 oz cheddar cheese grated sharp or Mexican blend

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • In a 10" iron skillet or any skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add chorizo and break it up into tiny bits with a fork or spoon as it cooks for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, dice the onion, jalapeno, and tomato. Add to the chorizo and cook well, for at least 5 minutes. You want to cook of most of the tomato water without burning anything.
  • Add Dad's spice mix or other spices and mix well.
  • In a bowl, combine the eggs, cream and cheese. Add to the meat mixture and stir the bits around so they are evenly distributed.
  • Pop into the oven and cook five minutes. Check to see if still jiggly. Keep in the oven, checking every minute until jiggling center has all but solidified. The top of the frittata should be slightly brown.
  • Remove from oven, let cool five minutes. Garnish as you serve.

Notes

There are so many ways you can vary this, it’s just silly. But using these ingredients and method will taste great. Really try to use fresh veg—organic farmers’ market stuff if possible. The garnishes add a lot and make it pretty. You’ll impress. 

Nutrition

Calories: 556kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 453mg | Sodium: 687mg | Potassium: 279mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2162IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 298mg | Iron: 2mg

Italian breakfast casserole

Made with fresh tomatoes and basil bought this morning at the farmers’ market, this version of one of our favorites, the breakfast casserole, helps us appreciate paying a little more for locally grown, organic produce.

Breakfast casseroles are really healthy and satisfying. Always a crowd pleaser, like if you’re having a morning-time birthday party or a day-after-the wedding family hangers-on brunch until it’s time for the relatives to get on their way home. The versions with bread are great, but this one and its variants taste just as good and are low-carb.

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Dad’s Italian breakfast casserole

a fresh and lively riff on the eggy breakfast casserole
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Resting time15 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cheese, eggs, Keto, sausage, vegetables
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 653kcal
Author: dad

Equipment

  • 12" skillet
  • 8" x 8" baking dish

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb Italian sausage Use ground or links, sweet or hot to your taste.
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil or 1/4 cup dried. Half for the casserole, half for the garnish.
  • 1/2 tspn dried red pepper flakes use more, less, or none to taste
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 8 oz grated cheese cheddar, mozzarella, Monterey Jack — any one or a blend works fine.
  • 1 large fresh tomato slice into half-moons, 8-10 pieces

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°
  • Heat the skillet on medium-high, add olive oil and watch until it shimmers.
  • Add sausage and break it up into small bits with a spatula or large spoon. Cook until evenly browned. Turn down the heat if this seems to be happening too fast.
  • Mix in onions and saute for 3-5 minutes, until softened, but not brown.
  • While the onions cook, break eggs into large bowl and whisk in heavy whipping cream until you have a nice, smooth mixture.
  • To the skillet, add garlic, red pepper flakes (if used), and half the basil. Mix in and cook a minute.
  • Lightly butter or grease the baking dish.
  • Add half the meat and veg mixture to the baking dish. Spread evenly.
  • Add half the grated cheese (4 oz) as a layer in the baking dish.
  • Add the rest of the meat-veg and then the rest of the cheese to the dish.
  • Slowly pour the egg-cream blend (eggs and cream like this is what custard is) over the stuff in the baking dish.
  • Top the casserole with the sliced tomatoes and the rest of basil.
  • Into the oven for 35-40 minutes. Check after 30 minutes and keep checking until the jiggling just about stops. Remove from oven and place on an empty burner or better, on a cooking rack for 15 minutes. A bit of baking will continue to happen for a while. Then the casserole will cool and become easier to cut.
  • I think cutting into six pieces makes for good-sized servings. I use a spatula with a sharp edge for this.

Nutrition

Calories: 653kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 59g | Saturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 362mg | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 336mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1293IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 344mg | Iron: 2mg
Nutrition Facts
Dad's Italian breakfast casserole
Amount Per Serving
Calories 653 Calories from Fat 531
% Daily Value*
Fat 59g91%
Saturated Fat 28g175%
Cholesterol 362mg121%
Sodium 884mg38%
Potassium 336mg10%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 28g56%
Vitamin A 1293IU26%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 344mg34%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Keto reboot

Lose 50; gain 15; lose 20; g-o-o-o-a-l!

For me personally, the very best thing about Keto has been acquiring the knowledge and skill to actually manage my weight. Here’s what I mean.

For 30 years or so, since I started being concerned about my weight, I tried this diet and that diet with varying results. Lose 30; gain it back; lose 20; gain it back…etc. Sound familiar? I realize now that the main reason I gained it back was that the diet got boring, or most often, it left me too hungry, too many times. I slipped into the “oh, what can be wrong with just one donut” loop. One donut once a month became two donuts twice a week, then “Oops, how did I manage to gain back all that weight?”

On Keto, however, since fat is filling and Keto recipes are everywhere involving just about everything, except sugar and grains, I don’t suffer the same sense of loss that other diets inevitably bring on. Just one guy’s experience.

But back to management. What I mean is that for the first time, Keto gives me a sense of being in control and under control. Have a carby weekend? Back to Keto on Monday and back to my pre-carby weight. Without the sense of suffering.

Now, over time, bad habits die hard. So, I did gain back 15 pounds over a year, compromising my Keto-ness too often. But now we’re all-in again and enjoying some Keto recipes we haven’t tried before. Down a pound-and-a -half in three days! Watch this space.

Enough food?

Back in the 1970’s, I learned from a retired Department of Agriculture scientist that food science was so advanced that there would never be a problem raising enough food to feed the world. It’s all about distribution, economics, and of course, politics. There was one valley in Peru that could grow enough peas to meet world demand. There were other optimal climates and conditions for other crops around the world—as long as people and countries worked together and created distribution to get the food where it needed to go. He was an idealist.

Now, we’re well into the 21st Century. The latest UN Report on climate change and world food is warning that many will die and go hungry because of climate change. Large areas of the world are becoming deserts.

There’s lot that anyone can do to impact world food supplies: supporting sustainable agriculture at home—like in your backyard, getting involved in a climate change movement, helping organizations that provide food for hungry people—at the local food bank or in desertified regions, and so much more.

Add a food-related cause to your personal portfolio of good deeds—or go all-in about food. The planet will appreciate it.

Here at DRB, as we become more aware of the big picture about food, we try to strike a balance between celebrating home cooking, eating well and eating healthy, sustainable agriculture, and the complicated issues that keep so many people from getting the food they need for life. We hope you are getting a balanced diet of information about food and our world.

Keto forever?

Unlike the other weight-loss programs we’ve tried over the years, “Keto” should be considered a fundamental change in how we choose to eat…forever. Eating Keto is a new way to eat for people who don’t want to be fat anymore, like me. A Keto diet is also, based on my experience, a way to gain other health benefits: reduced inflammation and associated body aches and pains, better cholesterol readings, and lower blood pressure. I’m not saying that changing the way I eat has been easy. And I’ve decided it’s not required that I eat fewer than 20, or 30 or 50 net carbs per day forever. Just that I mostly eat Keto and manage my cravings so that my total food intake is much less than before. After all, for anyone who wants to lose weight, the starting point is eating less.

Here’s one view on why Keto is natural, healthy and safe for a lifetime: